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10 Essential Ways to Hack Your Life (Instead of Letting Life Hack You)

10 Essential Ways to Hack Your Life (Instead of Letting Life Hack You)

    1. Stop waiting for things to change – change yourself NOW! 

    Most often that means changing your attitude! Too many times people have preconditions to happiness, only to find even if they reach that goal, there are even more pre-conditions to happiness. Aside for a temporary “high” when we attain our goal, we very quickly go back to a general baseline mood unless we change our thinking habits. If you tend to be a pessimist, you will continue to be no matter what happens on the outside, unless you change from the inside. Real attitude change is an inside job!  

    2. Build on your regrets, rather than let them keep you stuck in the past.  

    All too often, we use the past as a hitching post rather than a guide post. What’s done is done, and you can’t change it now. Use lessons from the past to improve your life NOW!  See even failure as feedback, not as a referendum of your self worth. Regrets can propel you forward, make you wiser and help you develop empathy for others. Regrets give us many useful lessons to build upon if you do not let them weigh you down. Forgive yourself for now knowing everything when you were six! We are all works in progress. Use your regrets as stepping stones towards a better future, rather than rocks in your emotional backpack.

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    3. Learn something every day.

     The end of school does not mean the end of learning. We are learning all the time, even if we are not aware of it. Life gives the best lessons of all, and it constantly teaches us lessons no one ever could. If you open up to the wonder of growing and learning, even if the lessons are something you never wanted to learn, you will keep moving in a forward direction.

    4. Stop lying to yourself! 

    People who are the most honest to others are often the biggest liars to themselves. They feed themselves all sorts of fiction that they are not good enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough, to the extent that they feel at times like “failures”. The critical inner voice is hard to quell, especially if you learned early on those messages that were judgmental and critical.  People who lie to themselves treat fact like fiction.  Change your self talk from statements like “I should be further along in my life than now” to “I am disappointed at where I am in my life, and I have learned many lessons to build on to make different decisions now.”  

    5. Forgive…for goodness sake!

    Forgiveness does not mean condoning behavior – it means you give up the bitterness you harbor that eats at you and robs you out of happiness in life.  People who wrong us are not inherently evil, but rather more likely unhealthy and maybe very very, very unhealthy. Switching from seeing from being “bad” to being “unhealthy” can free you of the resentment and bitterness. Whether it is your parents, coworkers, friends, or as a result of a love relationship gone sour, forgiveness will help you open up your heart to try again.  Of course, the most important person to forgive is yourself, and keep in mind you are a work in progress.

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    6. Think straight to feel great! 

    Irrational thinking lays the foundation for a lot of unhappiness and helplessness. Irrational thinking can be so automatic, that it is hard to catch, as our thoughts become solidified into “truths.” Our perceptions shape our reality, and that is what determines our attitude. As you become more aware of irrational patterns of thinking and change them into more rational thoughts, you will be empowered to change your attitude to change your life. “I can’t stand this” is irrational – nothing makes you melt into the ground! A more rational perspective is, “I am having a hard time with this”. The less you immobilize yourself with judgmental thoughts, the more you will feel empowered and optimistic.

    7. Try to change what is in your control, not what is out of your control.  

    Who is the only person we can change? Ourselves!  Who do we often try to change? Others!  Even trying to change someone else’s mind, however well meaning, can lead to frustration as people do not change just because you want them too – they need to want to! If you find yourself trying to change others, you will tend to be aggressive rather than assertive.  Bossiness and insensitivity will limit your ability to be accepting of others, flaws and all.  Of course, accepting people does not give them a “carte blanche” to say or do anything they want – it is up to us to set limits on how much we let them into our inner world. People who tend to be negative and focus on changing others rather than themselves are more likely to be dissatisfied with their lives.

    8. Make peace with the fact that life is not fair.

    We all know that life is not fair, but all too often we still expect it to be!  Expecting that life and people in it should be fair is the source of countless pain. Life gets quite tedious with that type of entitled mentality. Life is really more like Swiss Cheese with all its holes. It is not smooth and predictable like cream cheese or American.  It is actually the holes in our lives that offer us challenges that make us stronger and develop depth of character.  If we embrace the holes in our lives and grow through them, we become healthier in mind and spirit. Try as hard as you can to make life fair, and accept the rest and work around it.

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    9. Let yourself smile from within.

       People who are grateful for what they have instead of comparing themselves to others, feeling bitter about what they do not have, tend to feel less hacked by life. Pre-conditions to gratefulness is like pre-conditions to happiness – gratefulness will never happen unless we learn to be grateful for things in our life now.  Life can be tough and it is easier to find faults with it, but it will be an easier journey if we stop to smell the roses, slow down, and enjoy beauty in your world today.   Immerse yourself in nature, breath in the fresh air, slow down and savor each bite of food, and stop to lovingly gaze on those close to you.  Don’t take them for granted.  Are you too busy for that?  Let yourself be a human being instead of a human doing. 

    10. Don’t wait to change your life – do it today!  Start right now!

    You want your life to change?  Don’t wait!  Tomorrow is forever put off, and today is the day to start.  You can empower yourself by using “victor” language instead of “victim” language.  Replace “I should” with “I will”  and “I hate to” with “I don’t like”. The more flexible your self talk, the more you feel empowered and will be proactive.  Proactivity is one of the 7 habits of highly effective people according to Stephen Covey. Those who are proactive are more likely to be masters of their destiny, as opposed to those who are reactive, who allow others to control their moods. Make an action list of things you want to accomplish, and start today!  You do not have to do things all at once, and breaking large goals such as losing weight, can be broken down into little sub-goals.  The important thing is to begin today!

    Each day that you choose to remind yourself of these ten skills to hack life rather than let life hack you, you will increase your sense of self-mastery and enjoy life more.

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    I welcome ideas of how you hack life!

    (Photo credit: A Better Life Sign via Shutterstock)

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    Judy Belmont

    Mental health author, motivational speaker and psychotherapist

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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